Today marks the beginning of the Mark Thompson era at The New York Times Company, and it could be a long time before he settles in comfortably. Thompson comes aboard as his past stint at BBC continues to haunt him.
Currently, British law enforcement agents are investigating the celebrity Jimmy Savile over allegations that he abused hundreds of underage girls. Thompson enters into that picture because people have claimed that under his watch, the BBC program Newsnight killed an investigative piece on Savile, in an effort to quiet the scandal. To make matters worse, Thompson’s successor and two other senior executives have abruptly resigned due to pressure from the alleged misconduct.
As you can imagine, Times staffers are a little worried about the whole thing.
New York interviewed about a dozen of them, and here’s a brief summary of their quotes: “Yeah, this guy is shady, and that’s not good for the Times.” One called Thompson a “problematic choice,” and another said that most everyone in the newsroom feels his “story doesn’t add up.”
At best, it seems that Times staffers consider Thompson’s interaction with the Savile scandal a sign that he’s not a bright guy. Not exactly someone you want directing the company.